Keeping the BJP waiting, the PDP has authorised its president Mehbooba Mufti to take a final call on government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.
On Sunday, the PDP held its first formal meeting since the death of its patron and Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed at the AIIMS in New Delhi on January 7. Party sources indicated they are ready to continue their alliance with the BJP but the final decision is still awaited.
“The agenda of alliance is a sacred document for us,” senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar told reporters after a five-hour meeting at the Fairview residence of the Muftis.
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“There has been a lot of progress during Mufti sahib’s time. But the party has authorised Mehboobaji for what has to be done in the future. She has been given the right to take a decision, whatever it is,” he said.
Akhtar refused to set a timeframe for government formation. “She (Mehbooba) will think over it. She will take her own call, she will take her own time,” he said.
Sources said that in her speech, Mehbooba said she would “follow father”.
“The peoples’ interest is supreme and my party is my support,” a PDP source quoted Mehbooba as telling the party. “My father was my guide and I will follow him.”
All senior leaders, including dissidents Muzaffar Hussain Beig and Tariq Hameed Karra, attended the meeting.
In a departure from its stand over the last two weeks, the party Sunday did not talk about any pre-condition or demand for the implementation of the ‘agenda of alliance’. Earlier, the party had said it would “review the progress” of the agenda.
“Implementation of the alliance agenda in good faith is the basis,” Akhtar said when he was asked whether there was still any condition for formation of a government with the BJP. “The focus is on the agenda which is part of Mufti sahib’s vision and we want to implement that vision. Mehboobaji will take a call on how best to do it.”
Saying friendship between India and Pakistan was the biggest dream of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the party praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his moves on Pakistan.
“We believe that the moment of glory for Mufti sahib was when our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, visited Lahore. He (Mufti) was monitoring it from his death bed,” Akhtar said. “Mufti sahib had a political vision and the best part of this political vision was that he wanted friendship and peace between India and Pakistan. Mufti sahib believed that friendship between India and Pakistan was very important.”
Akhtar said the party and Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the Prime Minister’s initiative to extend a hand of friendship to Pakistan. “She expressed joy over Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking the initiative for friendship with Pakistan, the maturity shown by the two countries and the decision to continue dialogue despite the Pathankot incident,” he said.
“The people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, who are the victims (of Indo-Pak hostility) are very happy that the two countries are moving forward. This is the biggest tribute to Mufti sahib,” he said.